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Electra

It's All Who You Know

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July 8, 11:30pm

The encounter with The Beekeeper weighed heavily on Stesha's mind all through that night and the next day. She'd handled it, barely, but with the sort of finesse usually displayed by small children. Maybe she really wasn't cut out to do hero work. Maybe she should just drop the secret identity and get a job with the parks department. But... she wanted to be a hero so badly! She just wanted to be a good one. And the best way to do that, it seemed, would be to get a little advice. She had no doubt that Moira would've wiped the floor with The Beekeeper, maybe before he'd even had a chance to break the plate glass window that was going to be such a pain to get fixed.

It was late by the time she made it to the West End, but hopefully someone who ran a bar wouldn't keep exactly regular hours. After all, it had been later than this last time they'd run into each other. Stesha had put on the same outfit as before, green daisy hoodie and dark leggings, though not the ones with the hole in them. She cautiously approached the Moira's porch, still decorated, like many of its neighbors, with an overflowing flowerpot. After taking a moment to perk up the flowers to full bloom again, she knocked on the door.

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Angel had just fallen asleep. Giving her a peck on the cheek, Moira slipped on a Fearmaster I nightshirt and quietly shuffled off to the kitchen. She loved that girl more than anyone she had ever loved before. She thanked the gods for putting them in the right place at the right time.

By the time she got to her destination, she heard a banging on the door that made her question rhetorically, Who's up this late besides me? Opening the door, she squinted as her eyes adjusted to the porch light. It was Fleur and she looked hurt. "Oh," she said with a worried voice, ushering her guest inside quickly, "what happened? Are you OK? Do you need help? Who did this to you?"

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Stesha glanced down at the baking soda plasters she'd put over the bee stings on her hands. An hour in the sun would've cleared them up, but it also would've raised too many suspicions. Normal people didn't heal bee stings in an hour, or even overnight. But she was so ridiculously tired of the stinging and itching, she'd determined she was going to get rid of them first thing in the morning. "I'm okay," she assured Moira. "It's just bee stings. Superbee stings, but still. I ran into my first supervillain yesterday." She sighed. "I'm not very good at fighting supervillains. I managed to hold him for the police, but still, it sucked. I dunno, I guess I just wanted to talk to someone who's better at it. I hope I didn't wake you up or anything."

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Moira smiled and gently caressed the poor girls cheek, "Honey, I don't sleep. And you can come here anytime you want. Or call me if I'm not." She sighed, "Unfortunately there's no finesse in my style I just beat things down until they don't move anymore," she smiled at Fleur, "Which I plan to do to Mr. Bees when you tell me where to find him. But if you're looking for fighting lessons, I can hook you up with some fighters."

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"It's not so much that," Stesha admitted, after she was done with the moment's obligatory goggling. It was kind of rude, she knew, but she hoped that someone with such incredibly insane good looks would be used to it. "I don't know if this is what I'm cut out to do. I mean, he almost had me there for a minute. I don't know what he was going to do, but he had a hold of me, and if there hadn't been the hydrangea right there, he might have just flown off with me to God-knows-where. I was so scared," she added, though she hated to admit it out loud. "Not very heroic at all. How do you know if you've got it in you to do hero work?"

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Moira gently hugged the blotchy superheroine, pulling her in so Fleur's head rested against Moira's chest, slowly rocking her back and forth in her embrace, "It'll be OK, honey. We all have our bad first adventures. My first time, I had some crazy woman break into my pub and give me the biggest headache ever. If it hadn't have been for the help of a good friend I would have never done it." She stopped rocking for a second and walked them over to the couch to make them more comfortable. "Any time you need help. Any time. You call me." She didn't want to let go of her shrinking violet. She was her momma bear at the moment. anyone who wanted the flower girl would have to go through her. She relinquished her hold to see how Fleur was doing. "As for what it takes to be a hero, i'd say it takes persistance and dedication. You fall off the bike a couple of times before you ride it. I know it's probably not what you wanted to hear, but that's my sole advice."

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Stesha shook her head, brushing back the hoodie to reveal a few more bee stings and a coronet braid dressed with somewhat wilted tea roses. "I just... it turned out okay in the end. I stuck him inside a plant till the police got there, and I don't think he made my secret identity." She snorted, seeing a little of the humor in it now. "He came to my work, my day job. I wasn't looking for a fight. I ran into the flocking room, the room we use to spray glitter and fake snow and stuff onto plants, and put on the coverall and goggles we keep there. I probably looked like a swimming Christmas tree, but it was all the costume I had. I guess maybe I did okay, but it wasn't very good, you know? I didn't feel like a hero."

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Moira sighed as she showed more bee stings. She wanted to find whoever this was and beat the tar out of him. No one messed with her girls. Petting the viney hair calmed her as she looked into Fleur's eyes. "Fleur, I know you feel like a failure, but you're not. But you have what it takes to be a hero." Leaning her forehead into hers, "You remember that old Mariah Carey song?" She softly sing songed her words a bit, "There's a hero, if you look inside your heart." She smiled, "Words to live by."

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"I don't know..." Stesha grimaced a little, but it was very hard not to believe what Divine was saying. It was nice just to listen to her talk, much less sing. "I want to be a hero. I want to do, you know, heroic things. Maybe even more than just beautifying parks, even though that's my favorite. But maybe I'm more a sidekick than a hero, or one of those people who'd be better off in a group. But I don't even know anyone. Just you, and this one other guy who's an ass but has super powers that I went on a date with. He doesn't count. But it's better to fight in groups, isn't it? So if you get knocked down, someone's watching your back."

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"Yes it is," Moira said swooping Fleur up and carrying her like a groom carries a bride, "I've been thinking about starting my own group myself." Slowly walking towards the kitchen, she explained, "See, I'm already in a group, but that one isn't your style, I think. That and I think we're all full up. I mean six or seven is enough without forgetting people's names right?" Sitting her down at the table, she rhetorically asked, "Cheesecake," before bounding off for some plates and silverware.

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Stesha let out a surprised yelp as Moira scooped her up, grabbing hold of Moira's arm, but the gorgeous superheroine was obviously stronger than she looked. Once in the chair, she took a moment to straighten her hair and freshen up the flowers in it. "That's a lot of heroes," she agreed, watching Moira work. "But if you've got a good team already, why would you leave to set up another one? I mean, assuming you like it, and that the other people on the team are okay to work with."

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"Oh no," Moira chuckled as she grabbed a couple of plates, "I'm not leaving that group. Those guys are my friends!" She placed the plates and silverwear on the table, "You know, like Deion Sanders played football and baseball at the same time?"

Walking to the fridge, she slowly swayed her hips as she hummed a bit of the tune she was about to sing to Fleur in the living room. Pulling out the cake plate out of the fridge, she smiled and walked to the table. Sitting it down she makes the dramatic reveal of the strawberry chocolate cheesecake, "Ta da!" Handing the server to her guest, she smiled, "Dig in."

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Stesha sighed a little inside, then reminded herself that she'd gotten a lot of exercise fighting villainy the day before. And maybe she'd walk to work in the morning. She dug in. "Mmm, where do you get this stuff, anyway?" she asked, her mouth half-full. "It's so good." She had to stop for a minute and just concentrate on the cheesecake before getting back to business. "What team do you belong to?" she asked. "I mean, if it's not rude to ask a question like that or something."

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Moira smiled as Fleur happily dug into the cake, "I get one delivered every day. No one's said anything. They check out as clean," She sighed happily, "It's just a nice gesture from someone I don't know."

Moira picked up a piece of the cake with the server and set it on her plate, "Oh no it's not rude to ask at all. I think, she shrugged. Reciting the names like it were second nature to her, "We are the Knights of Freedom. There's me, Divine. Avenger our defacto leader. Scarab, who I think is second in command. Dark Star is a really nice guy once you get to know him. Arrowhawk, though I don't really think he joined. Knight is, huh, I never talked or worked with him much. And Hellbound," she punctuated the last word with a scowl. "He hasn't been around in a while," she said with a bit of vindictive smile while slowly smooshing her piece of cake. She looked back up to Fleur in a much more peaceful manner, "If it's not too much, tell me, who was the superpowered ass you went out with?"

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Stesha shrugged, stabbing her cake evocatively with her fork. "Just some guy who came into the shop to order black flowers for some orgy party he was having." She snorted. "Said it was a baby shower, but you know, when you get there to set up your vases full of black roses and some chick who would much rather be naked tells you they're serving the 'cake' on a chaise lounge... it ain't no baby shower. Anyway, he asked me out so I'd give him a discount, and I said yes because he was really hot."

Stesha mooshed up her cheesecake a little more. "It turns out he's some kind of superpowered guy, super fighter and can turn invisible or something. Anyway, the date turned out bad and he skipped out on the next one. It happens, you know? His name was Jack something. Jack Faretti." She knew his name perfectly because it was still on her cell phone in some kind of stupid tribute to desperation. But she didn't want to sound any more pathetic than necessary.

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Moira was shocked at the name that came out of Fleur's mouth. Could Avenger be an ass too? Was she hanging around a jerk crew? Well, she knew one of them, Dark Star, was good company. Maybe she had it all wrong.

A twisted plan hatched in her Olympian brain. She would have to take Fleur along for the ride and it could get her a bit tipsy herself. She mentally winced at the thought of the last time she did this. But this was worth it.

"Jack Faretti, eh," Moira asked standing up and walking over to the wine closet, "I didn't figure him to be the orgy type. I shall have to talk to him about that." A wicked smile crossed her face as she pulled out the amber bottle and two glasses. Putting on a more innocent smile, she turned around and returned to the table.

Sitting a glass in front of her guest she poured some of the crisp honey colored liquid into it. "This cheesecake is always a bit too rich for me. Here have something to wash it down." Walking over to her seat and sitting down, she placed down a glass and poured some for herself.

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"You know him?" Stesha asked, picking up her glass and taking a sip from politeness. It tasted so good that she immediately took another sip, swishing it around in her mouth. "Wow, this is almost better than the cheesecake," she blurted. "I've never had anything like it." Stesha didn't drink much, admittedly, but she had a pretty good head for alcohol. She had another drink, and another bite of cheesecake. Suddenly her problems didn't seem quite so bad anymore.

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Moira nodded with a smile, taking a taste of the nectar of the gods. If this didn't loosen her guest's inhibitions, nothing would. "Oh yeah, Jack's a friend of mine we go way back." She chuckled, "To January."

Taking another taste of the Ambrosia, Moira's Olympan mind started to work, particulary her mother's vengeful side. There was no way that this was gonna be another bad relationship go unpunished.

"Now Jack is a strange case," Moira said refilling her guest's glass and then her own, "he's a nice guy by himself. But when he gets an idea and a bunch of people, well," she leaned forword and looked Fleur with a straight face, "things sorta happen. I wouldn't be suprised if he put that orgy together himself."

Leaning back in a comfortable position and taking another drink, Moira sighed, "Maybe you weren't a part of his plan." Take the bait, kid, Moira's thoughts screamed behind her peaceful facade, TAKE THE BAIT!

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"I think I was," Stesha said indignantly, taking another drink. "I think I was and didn't even know about it. He probably would've hit on anyone in the shop that afternoon just to get a discount on his stupid flowers. I worked really hard on them, too." Oddly enough, complaining about Jack made the problems that had been weighing on her seem a little bit smaller. That was nice. "Then he was all over me in the movie theater for awhile, then... I dunno. He just stopped. Maybe he remembered that he had a previously scheduled sexual marathon with someone else." That was worth another swig.

"Anyway," she said, swallowing, "I didn't even see him again after that night. He said he'd call, and of course he didn't, and then he said he'd meet me when I delivered the flowers, and he didn't. He left me this stupidly large tip instead, like he was buying me off or something. If he'd been there, I'd've thrown it at him," she said with gusto, though that was probably not actually true. "Then, like three nights later, he calls to say it's not me, it's him, and we're never gonna see each other again. So if I was part of his plan, it was a very small part of the plan, marked "Stupid goth flowers for orgy." She drank, then looked at the glass. "What is this stuff, anyway? It's really good."

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"Family recipe," Moira said filling Fleur's glass again, "They make this in the old world. I get a crate of it every once in a while." She pours herself a third helping also.

"I happen to know Jack is one of those light night owls," Moira says with a grin and taking a drink, "How about I give you the chance to throw that tip at him tonight? Show him you're not some passing fancy?" Sympathetically, she caressed Fleur's cheek, "Like you said, we gotta stick together."

Woah, better stop now, she thought downing another glass, or maybe a few more to get the old brain kickin better.

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"I spent it," Stesha admitted, a little sheepishly. "I figured it would make me feel better, so I went out and bought a new MP3 player. It's really nice, but I guess it didn't make me feel that much better, because here we are." She took another drink, time enough for her brain to catch up with her. Despite her normal tolerance for alcohol, this stuff, despite its smoothness, was making her feel a bit floaty. "Wait... you know where he lives?" The idea was tempting. "I don't know if I should," she admitted. "He could make trouble for me at work if I go and hassle him. I can't afford to lose my job. But even if we weren't dating really dating, dumping me on the phone was a crappy thing to do. You'd think that would be exoner...extenuating circumstances."

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"Yeah, we know each other as friends," Moira said in a tone that was way too suggestive. "Don't worry about your job," she said filling Fleur glass up one last time. The bottle was empty. "You got me to help you," she said with a wink, ""your job is safe."

Standingup, she went and put the empty bottle into the glass recycle and went to the wine closet again, pulling another bottle of the heavenly liquor out. This one was for the road. Walking back to the table she extended her hand to Fleur to help her up. ""Come on, let's go," she said cheerily.

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Stesha drained her glass, not wanting to waste any of it before they left. "Is it very far?" she asked. "I don't think I should probably be driving right now, let alone throwing myself through the plants. God only knows where we'd come out. Did I tell you that I got the plants to eat the Beekeeper?" she asked Moira as she followed her to the door. "Gulp! and down he went," she added happily, miming the snap of a blossom closing with her hands. "That was the good part. I wish I'd managed to do that before the bees.

"How can you be friends with someone like Jack, anyway?" she asked, continuing her rambling train of thought. "I mean, I guess you'd be the star of any orgy party..." Stesha clapped a hand over her mouth. "Oh my god, I can't believe I just said that. I just meant because you're so beautiful and everyone would... I think I'm just making it worse. I haven't felt this tipsy since college. Sorry."

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Moira laughed lightly as Fleur talked her way through the alcohol. The plan was working. Soon she would have the courage to face Jack on her own without Moira's help. Handing Fleur the bottle, she winked, "Don't worry, people with a lot looser tongues have said much more. I'm used to it by now."

She looked at her state of dress, maybe it was the liquor talking, but she felt fine the way she was. No one would think she was Fearmaster. She walked into the living room, Fleur in tow, and found her sandals and keys.

Walking to the front door, she turned and smiled at Fleur, "I'll drive. You just sit back and relax, baby." Opening the front door, she acted as an usher to the car, "Take as much of that as you want, just consider it a gift."

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Stesha cradled the bottle in one arm, conscientiously buckling her seatbelt before they got going. "In Illinois, you can't drink in a moving car, even if you're not driving. I don't know if that's true here, but it's probably a good idea even if Jack would just deserve it if I puked all over his front porch. That would be pretty embarrassing." She stared down at the bottle, watching the play of lights over the curved surface.

"That's the thing I guess. It's so embarrassing to screw up, with Jack or with The Beekeeper both. I told all my friends about the date before I went out on it, because you know, that's what you do, you tell your friends when you've got a hot date. And then I figured out I got played and I couldn't even tell them about the part where we fought the fake Omegadrones because of this stupid secret identity thing, and then Paul, Paul's my assistant, he's nice, he and I went to deliver the flowers, and he saw how Jack didn't even show up the whole time. It's embarrassing," she said again, nodding distinctly. Thinking back, she wasn't entirely sure how she'd wandered down that train of thought, but it was true.

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